This will probably be the last update I'll send directly from "the Cave" for a while. It's been an awesome 6 months here in La Carpio, full of more impacting experiences and life lessons than I have time to write out at the moment, but I'm working on a few updates to let you know some of the things God taught me while I lived here.
Right now I'm full of conflicting feelings of anticipation and severe anguish. Tomorrow I'll be on a plane headed toward Nampa to spend Christmas with my family, a luxury I haven't had for three Christmas's now. I'm excited for that, but I'm not "feeling" it, yet. What I'm "feeling" right now is the painful sadness of leaving a family whose lives I shared for several months now. Each time I get on a plane to leave Costa Rica, I am reminded that the stronger relationships and friendships I make here, the more difficult and painful I make it to leave. In a way, I thank God for allowing me to still be able to make life difficult for myself in this way.
I found a place to live when I return, though.... that's an answer to prayer. I felt an irrationally low level of stress about the fact that I did not know where I would be living when I return to Costa Rica in January. Thankfully, by God's provision what looks to be a decent living situation plopped into my lap less than a week before I left. So now I know where I'll be laying my head when I get back after Christmas. Stay posted.
Normally that would be cause for much greater celebration, but again... I'm not yet feeling it. I'm still feeling the pain of separation and leaving these 6 months behind, and not having had a chance to fully process it. That's one of the reasons I haven't posted regular updates about the experience while I've been here - there are several reasons, but that's one of them.
I'll write more as I find time, but for now I'll rehash a poem/reflection I wrote several months ago when Jesús (Hay-Seuss) was born (the youngest member of the Chilo Tribe, the family with whom I've been living). Since this is Jesús' first Christmas, I remixed the reflection to fit the occasion. The obvious starting point for this reflection was the similarity between the names Jesús and Jesus. Beyond that, you'll have to figure out the relationship between the two in the poem.
Maybe you were born into the Cave,
into a prickly bed surrounded by animals.
Maybe you were born into a world in the throes of a genocide,
when babies were considered a threat and killed before they reached 2 years old.
Maybe you were a hated foreigner in someone elses' land. Maybe there were rats there where you lay, maybe sewage outside and soldiers entering houses, Zealots in the street preaching what was best for them and a self-glorifying religion creating burdens to large for people to bear.
Maybe your birth was marked by explosions of light in the sky.
Maybe you were born to a poor family striving to make ends meet, to a young mother with no medical care, living far from home and family.
Maybe your father's hands were calloused, hard, and strong from decades of work with raw materials.
Maybe your parents were displaced for political reasons, and rejected from every door they knocked on for help.
You probably had no privacy at birth, but were surrounded by a dense throng of animals, people, noise, and activity.
I wish I could assure you everything will turn out well for you in the end. It probably won't, but it might.
You might still learn to love and live. Maybe even you will be amazed at the faith you see. maybe even you will see persistence that surprises you. Even if you know how it will all end, never stop pleading for another way.
I wish we had a better world to bring you into, but that's where we're at right now.
We've been waiting for you. Maybe you're the one here to clean up this mess. We're sorry this is what you are born into. Maybe you're the one who can save us from it.